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My Story: #MustReadin2016 Challenge

Posted on: January 8th, 2016 by lschwartz 2 Comments

This year I am joining Carrie Gelson and a host of other book lovers for the #MustReadin2016 on Twitter. I am very excited and inspired to read my list of books.

Last Summer, I re-discovered my love of reading when I joined another reading challenge on Twitter. Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday hashtag had me turning pages late into the night many times last summer. It was invigorating to read and enjoy so many books and connect with others on Twitter.

Here is my list of #MustReadin2016 books:

      51WLo5tAs3L._SX354_BO1,204,203,200_ The Thing About Jelly Fish by Ali Benjamin- Completed Jan 3, 2016

51UnPzofEWL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_ Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

51bBbJPlfNL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-big,TopRight,35,-73_OU15_SL135_All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

51kPXj+MF6L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ How to Build a Girl- Caitlin Moran

51LLIhiNdJL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ Written in the Stars- Aisha Saeed

51Ogkxm7QML._AA160_ Everything, Everything- Nicola Yoon

51ffwVD0FeL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_ Crenshaw- Katherine Applegate

41OqMfINFRL._SL500_SL135_ Paper Things- Jennifer Richard Jacobson

51mJEataWuL._SL500_SL135_ The Truth About Twinkie Pie- Kate Yeh

51egQ49Nm6L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_ Hope is a Ferris Wheel- Robin Herra

61umd+zBVJL._SX396_BO1,204,203,200_ The Teacher You Want to Be- Alfie Kohn, Matt Glover et al.

51DDdbBAEpL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

41SS8CrR6yL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

31ybVrekqpL._SL500_SL135_All The Small Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

What are you reading this year?




My Story of Innovation and Discomfort

Posted on: October 22nd, 2015 by lschwartz No Comments

Driving home from the pumpkin patch a few Sundays ago, my daughter, Sarah,  announced that she was going to make a vending machine out of cardboard.  My inside voice was thinking, “That’s never going to work.”  My outside voice asked, “Can you tell me more about that, what materials will you need?”

After some discussion about materials, she decided that maybe a game would be more manageable.  At this point, I told her about the video Caine’s Arcade and the cardboard challenge that continues in schools every year.

Sarah spent the rest of that Sunday afternoon creating, not one, but three games out of cardboard and other materials around the house.  Mostly independently, but with a little help from her Dad for the finishing touches.

She created a ball drop game:


Using my kitchen tongs, she created her favourite, “The Claw” game.



Finally she used some plastic cups to create a game where you had to shoot a ping pong ball into a cup and there were point cards in each cups.


Inspired by Caine’s arcade, she created her own play passes and play pass slots and we had to hunt down tickets at our local dollar store.

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You might be wondering why this is on my work blog and not a personal blog.  Yes it is a proud moment for me, but I also made so many work connections to the events of that Sunday afternoon.

1.  One of reasons Sarah felt that this kind of project was possible was because of the possibilities she is being exposed to at school. The importance for students to be given the time and spaceto see what is possible.

2. This is the kind of project that fits in so well with B.C.’s new curriculum documents that many educators are using and playing with this year.  It was cross curricular in nature.  There was literacy, math and those important competencies (communication, thinking and personal/social). I witnessed Sarah being creative in her creation of the games, but also being critical when having to solve problems when certain aspects of her games were not working.

3.  It is not lost on me, that I was very uncomfortable at several times during this whole process.  Discomfort because I wasn’t sure where this was going.  Discomfort because I didn’t know if I knew how to help her. It is the fear of being vulnerable in the face of change.  Even discomfort in writing this for fear people might see me as less than capable.  Working with teachers and the new curriculum on a daily basis, I may not be alone with some of these fears.

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Picture Books to Inspire Creativity and Innovation

Posted on: January 9th, 2015 by lschwartz No Comments

Today we had an inspiring session about literacy with primary teachers who are members of our district mentoring program.  We talked a lot about using picture books for a variety of things such as teaching social responsibility, self regulation and inspiring students to read.  We also talked about the value of sharing book lists of great books that are go to for different topics and subjects.  With our B.C. curriculum transforming and adopting a focus on core competencies, I thought it would be beneficial to compile a list of books that talk about creativity, perseverance and thinking outside the box.

Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds


Rafeal has been waiting all year for the Going Places contest to build a go-cart and win.  He gets the first kit and runs home to build his go cart. He follows the precise instructions and is proud of his efforts.   Maya, his neighbour, uses her kit as a seat and sketches her dream g-cart.  Together they create a go-cart like no other.  A story that celebrates creativity, perseverance and thinking outside the box.

Anything is Possible– Giulia Belloni


The story of a determined sheep and his best friend, wolf.  Sheep is determined to build a flying machine, while Wolf is very skeptical.  Together they work on the flying machine, always looking for a new solution.  A story about perseverance, creativity and team work.

The Most Magnificent Thing– Ashley Spires


The story of a girl and her very best friend, her dog.  This regular girl wants to create the most magnificent thing.  The story of taking an idea, creating a plan, gathering supplies and failing repeatedly. She gets angry, she wants to quit.  Her dog convinces her to go for a walk and she comes back with renewed spirit and a new take on her project.  A beautiful story about creativity, projects and perseverance.

Other titles that promote creativity:

What to do With an Idea– Kobi Yamanda


Rosie Revere Engineer– Andrea Beaty